There will not be sufficient information available to our Supervisors to make an informed decision on Dulles Rail, partly because of the lack of transparency. There is a well-financed and ongoing campaign to misinform the public on alleged benefits. It is clear this effort is driven by a small group of businesses and politicians who stand to profit at the expense of the taxpayers.
We advocate in favor of Loudoun County exercising its option to withdraw from a financial obligation to Phase II as structured, paying nothing, and restructuring the terms, if possible, to shift the entire cost burden from the Loudoun taxpayers to the private sector entities which are promoting the project and are convinced of its merits.
Committing Loudoun financially to this project, given that it has been proven to have little benefit to transportation and a pronounced negative financial impact on the County, would be a mistake, and it cannot be undone once decided.
This commitment involves 3 cost components; the latter two are often overlooked, but are very important.
- The first component is the cost to construct Phase 1 and 2. This will be managed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).
- The second component is the cost to repay the money borrowed for construction. This will be roughly three times the cost to construct.
- The third component is the unspecified mandatory annual subsidy Loudoun would be assessed by Metro. This obligation would make Loudoun a stakeholder in the $13 billion rebuilding of the entire 36-year-old system.
MWAAs handling of the rail project has raised concerns, as expressed by Congressman Frank Wolf. Wolf objects to MWAA's “...lack of accountability by the unelected, 13-member board that sets policy for the authority”
Friday, February 17, 2012, Wolf said, “...the thing’s gone south.” Decisions are made in executive session. There’s no transparency. Its membership is no longer dominated by long-time Northern Virginians. The panel's decision to build the Dulles Metro Station underground, adding $300 million to the project, almost killed funding for Dulles Rail Phase II — until it was overturned under pressure. That’s why, Wolf said, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general has 13 staffers working on an MWAA audit that he (Wolf) requested. “In the last four or five years, the thing just went astray,” he said. “Something’s gone wrong.”
Thursday, December 10, 2009, U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) testified that Metro has been paying "lip service" to lapses in safety oversight and accountability. She said she was "really hot about this" and called on the Metro board to take "appropriate and immediate action."
The Loudoun Opt Out does not have all the answers but we hope to assist the public by identifying the most important questions.